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One of the best ways to share your family history is to create a Montage of your pictures, video and memorabilia to tell the story of your family members and your life.  This can be an overwhelming project to put together, but once it's together it is a family heirloom you can pass down for generations to come.  It gives a family a sense of belonging, of family togetherness, as they watch their family history pass by on the screen and see relatives they may or may not be familiar with be explained to them from the relatives that knew and loved them.  Tears of Joy Video (http://www.tearsofjoyvideo.com) would like to help you create this family heirloom for your family.  With this blog we will explain how you can organize your pictures and memorabilia for us to put together your family history on video.

The first thing you have to do is figure out how far you want to go back.  Usually its best not to go back any farther than the oldest living relative can remember.  It creates more of a personal touch when your relatives can explain the people in the pictures and their personalities.

If you start with a grandparent, you may be able to have them explain their grandparents, parents and siblings and then go down to recent times with your relatives.

If you start with your parents, you may want them to explain their relatives on both their parents side that they remember.  Be sure you have pictures of each person they talk about.  Once you decide where the story will begin and end, its time to create categories.

Usually it's best to create the video in chronological order.  So you can separate the pictures by decades (Example: the 20's, 40's, 50's ect..) or by relative (Example: Grandma's mom and dad and family.  Grandpa's mom and dad and family.  Mom's dads' family.  Moms' Moms' family.)  Have with you posted notes and on the pictures write the name of the person, how they are related, where the picture was taken, who are the people you know in the picture. You may not include all this in the video, but it will help when creating picture order and captions later.  If there are a number of people you don't know, tell us the ones in the picture you are featuring.  After you have the pictures in order, number the posted notes in the order the pictures should be in that section.  

Also interesting is to include things like birth certificates, marriage licenses, diplomas, awards, announcements, newspaper articles, and pictures related to newsworthy events that happened in the time period these people lives.  Life magazine (www.life.com), Time Magazine (www.time.com/coversearch) and Saturday Evening Post (www.curtispublishing.com) all have websites that list the covers from past years with events that happened.  These would be great to use.  Maybe you have some old magazines your relatives saved you can use.  Remember to number these too where they are inserted.  If you want to include video clips or movie clips, make a note of where you wanted it inserted and describe what on the video/movie you want inserted.

Now take a sheet of paper and go through the pictures in order and decide which ones need captions. (*See Blog: [Link Removed] ) Write the beginning title for the section, and then write the number that you wrote on the picture on the paper and the title or caption you want with the picture.  The captions tell the story, so make sure you have short descriptive titles. With each section take a large zip lock bag and put your pictures, memorabilia and the sheet with titles.  You may also include on the bottom of the sheet the music you would like to include in this section of pictures.  If you are not sure, we can make some suggestions of songs that will go well with the pictures when we see them-so just write “will discuss music later“. Seal the bag and when all the sections are done, number each bag with a posted note in the order each section will go on the video from beginning to end.

Do you want to add narration or interviews into the family history video to tell the story?  This is an excellent way to add to your video.  You can interview relatives about the pictures and we can put the pictures over their voice.  If you have access to a video camera, this is an excellent addition.  You will need to record on your title sheet where the video will be added in and or what section of video narration will be added in to the section of pictures.  You can describe it either by what's in the video or by what they are saying.  If you need help figuring out questions to ask, email us and we can send you a sample question sheet to use.  (This will only be provided for verified customers).  If you live in the southern California area and would like to have a professional videographer videotape this for you, we have a number of videographers we can recommend.  However if you would like to do this on your own time and have a video camera to use, your relatives will probably feel more comfortable with you, than a stranger when they are interviewed.

Organizing your pictures can be a lot of work, but it can be a great family project.  Get your family all involved in collecting pictures, video and  putting these sections together.  After the project is done, it will mean more to everyone involved.

This is a once in a lifetime video that will stay in your family for years, so when putting it together, be sure to include your families personality.  Include fun pictures that show personality.  Funny stories that have been passed down throughout the years.  Words of wisdom shared by family members.  Events that were life changing-and how they effected your family (example: where were you when Kennedy got killed, or when the world trade centers went down) .  Romantic stories of the couples getting together and funny things your family members did as kids.  All these things are things that bring you close to your family and stories you want to share with generations to come.

Next time you get together with your family, why don't you discuss with them about creating you're family's history on video.  It will be something you will cherish forever.

Take a look at a sample of this on our website:
[Link Removed]


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